Machado School Heritage Society


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The 1.5 acre site along Llagas Creek was donated by Bernard S Machado on June 5th 1895 for a one-room school. Charles and Leon Smith completed construction that Summer and classes began in the Fall of 1895. In 1910 a second room was added on the Llagas Creek side to accommodate all 8 grades.

Bernard Machado named his son James F. Machado, William Britton and James P. Ward as trustees who all wanted a neighborhood school for the children of Paradise Valley. Annie Britton, the daughter of John Britton, was the first teacher. Erna Purcell was the first student to graduate from the eighth grade.

The two-room school was used continuously until May 18th, 1967 when engineers determined that the building did not meet State earthquake standards. A portable building was moved on to the site behind the old school and it was used for first, second and third grades from the Fall of 1967 until January 2003 when a well failed.

The old school building was abandoned by the school district for classes after May of 1967 and was used as a storage site for books and other materials. By 1974 the old school was in a sad state of disrepair. Local citizens interested in preserving the original school formed the Machado School Heritage Society. It was restored under their auspices and was dedicated as a historical site on May 21, 1983. Since that tine the old school has become a popular community center used for family reunions, birthday parties, yoga classes, weddings and other family and community gatherings.

Though formal classes are no longer held there, the old school still echoes with the sound of children for The Machado School Field Trip Program which brings many local classes out for a day of fun and hands-on learning.

Grades K-3 participate in the School Days Adventure Program which is a combined science, history and art program. Activities at stations are based on grade level. They may include a sketch of the old building, a nature scavenger hunt, old fashioned games and imaginative play, local history, and/or folk dancing. Each grade level does different activities.

Grades 4 and 5 have history programs tailored to their grade level. The Grade 4 Gold Rush Program is an 1849 experience of life in the mining camps: students pan for gold, make camp by setting up a tent, enjoy the accommodation of the Hotel El Dorado, experience law and order in the wild west and send letters home. Pioneer Days is another Grade 4 program with focus on the westward movement and local pioneers. Grade 5 is focused on Colonial times. Shortly after arrival, the boys and girls make tricorns and mobcap hats then immerse themselves in Colonial activities. Colonial school lessons include ciphering, recitation, and penmanship with a quill pen. At the other stations, students learn about typical children’s activities during colonial times such as candle-making and cornhusk doll making.